Posted by: laughs4dads | December 6, 2010

What to Do During the Roughly Ten Hours a Day Your Baby Is Awake

Babies, as adorable and lovable as they are, have this annoying habit of actually being conscious for a good portion of every day.  During this period, which can seem longer than the Roman Empire managed to stick around, good parents will do all they can to provide stimulation for the child.  Wise parents, on the other hand, will stay as far away from their child as possible.

Mothers tend to do better during this period, because the baby holds endless fascination for them. Fathers, on the other hand, get bored easily, and the novelty wears off quickly.

In the early months, playing with a baby is difficult, as the kid has the mobility of a small stone.  In fact, many of the things you can do with it are the same sorts of things you can do with a rock, like tossing it up in the air, rolling it on the ground and throwing it at pigeons. A word of warning here: do not try to skim a baby across a body of water.

According to child rearing experts, it’s really important to talk to your baby a lot, and to keep your face very close to it.  That way, it becomes familiar with your voice, hears language being used and, at the same time, can reach up and poke your eyes out.  This is, apparently, just about all the stimulation it can handle.

When baby begins to crawl, all sorts of possibilities emerge.  For one thing, the child can now crawl over to you and poke your eyes out.  It can also drool over greater areas of your carpeting.  Barbara’s sister, Gwen, had a good idea to stimulate her daughter, Errin.  She hung pictures at Errin’s eye level, so that no matter where Errin crawled, she’d have something to see.  Upon entering their house, however, you had the uneasy feeling that you were upside down. 

About this time, you’ll notice your baby doing little things to entertain itself.  Casey, for instance, turned teething into a little game wherein she would repeatedly utter the sound “maaaaa” as if it were her mantra.  This somehow caused large bubbles to come out of her mouth.  Once, we left her alone for fifteen minutes and found her with a beard of foam on her face.

As time went on, I found I could play actual games with her.  I don’t mean Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons or anything, but games we made up that had definite sets of rules.  Unfortunately, only Casey appeared to know exactly what these rules were, but I tried to follow along as best I could.

Hide and Seek was one of her favorites.  I would hide in the closet and say “pssst” until she found me.  Then I would hide somewhere else and say “pssst” until she found me.  Then I would hide in the closet again and say “pssst” until I realized she had stopped playing and was a third of the way up the stairs.

She liked to play the same game over and over.  “Ring Around the Rosey” was a favorite.  She could play that until there was a visible circle-shaped erosion in the carpet. I fully expected alien spacecraft to land there any minute.

Then there was “Night.”  She’d get into our bed, pull up the cover, and pretend to sleep.  I never knew what the point was, but I let her play as long as she liked.

Once we had these games, I very much enjoyed playing with Casey.  For very short periods of time.  An hour seemed to be my limit.  Call me a lousy father, but I think an hour of spitting a blue, plastic ring across the room so that my daughter could retrieve it and shove it back into my mouth was just plenty, thank you.

Yes, I know, you mothers can do it all day, and I admire you for it.  Barbara could keep it up forever. True, she’d take unwarranted glee in a trip to the supermarket, but I was of the opinion that she deserved those vacations as much as anybody. 

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